Review Essay: Fighting for Tacit Knowledge

Alexander Antony


The increasing popularity of praxeological approaches in the social sciences over the past couple of years has initiated an ongoing theoretical discussion of the concept of tacit knowledge. However, these debates often fail to take into account concrete empirical studies. With her book "Fighting Skills: A Sociology of Practical Knowledge," Larissa SCHINDLER provides an ethnographic study that examines practices mediating tacit knowledge in the context of learning the martial art Ninjutsu. Next to an in-depth analysis of processes of knowledge transfer in Ninjutsu classes, SCHINDLER aims to contribute to broader sociological debates. In my review essay, I will discuss the methodological implications of SCHINDLER’s study, illustrate the analytic strengths of her work, and try to identify possible points of departure for future research. Even though SCHINDLER falls short of fully realizing her theoretical ambitions, she nonetheless provides an exceptional contribution to praxeological-microsociological scholarship with the potential to stimulate further discussion concerning matters of tacit knowledge and beyond.



tacit knowledge; martial arts; ethnography; practice theory; ethnomethodology; body; sports; videography

Copyright (c) 2014 Alexander Antony

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